To say the least, this was an extremely strange week of college football, particularly in the Pac-10.
From teams putting up 83 points, to Florida getting blown out at home by a team that hadn't beaten them at the swamp in over a decade, to Oregon putting up not fewer than 40 points, not fewer than 30, but fewer than 20... and winning.
Not mentioned in the above statement, is the fact that Oregon State lost to Washington State in Corvalis. It was the Cougars first Pac-10 win in two years. I knew Oregon State wasn't it's usual self this season after the loss last week to UCLA, but to lose to Wazzu? Nothing could've surprised me more.
Mike Riley has a lot of work to do with this team for next season, as a bowl game for THIS season isn't likely. The Beavers are currently 4-5 with their 3 remaining games against USC, Oregon, and Stanford, probably the 3 best teams in the Pac-10.
USC as I predicted beat Arizona, 24-21. Nick Foles had a big day in the air vs the Pac-10's worst passing defense. He threw for 358 yards with 3 TD's and no INT's. However, this came in a losing effort as Arizona couldn't get the running game going with only 51 yards on 18 carries.
The Trojans won the turnover battle at +1 and that might have been the difference given that this wound up being a one possession game.
In addition, USC was quite the contrary to Arizona in terms of running the ball. On 46 carries, they rushed for 205 yards and 2 TDs.
Stanford came out on top of Arizona State in another surprisingly low scoring Pac-10 affair. Andrew Luck had somewhat of a career day throwing for 292 yards on 33-41 throwing. He had no TD's and 1 INT, but he was without a doubt the Cardinal's most impressive offensive player on the day.
With the final score at 17-13, defense clearly played a factor. Arizona State's defense is one of the best in the Pac-10, however their lack of discipline has cost them multiple times this season. Linebacker Vontaze Burfict in particular has cost his team this season, leading the nation in Personal Fouls. He had a facemask penalty that wound up costing his team in what would win up being Stanford's winning drive.
And now, for the last game, the craziest of them all. Oregon 15 Cal 13. Looks more like a baseball score than a football score, especially considering Oregon was playing.
The Ducks offense just couldn't get anything going. As expected, Cal looked like a totally different team at home, even without starting QB Kevin Riley.
In fact, Cal played so well, that they had the oppurtunity to take the lead in the 4th quarter. Kicker Giorgio Tavecchio made a 24 yard field goal to put the Bears ahead 16-15 with about 10 minutes left in the game. However, on an illegal motion penalty, the field goal didn't count, and Tavecchio would have to do the same from 29 yards out...
As you might have figured out, he missed. Tavecchio, a Junior had never missed a field goal under 30 yards in his career. And in a very "Cal" like manner, made his first miss from under 30 yards, in the biggest game of the season.
Heisman candidate LaMichael James had the most ineffective game of his season, rushing for only 91 yards on 29 carries for a measly average of 3.1 yards a carry. A microscoping number in comparison to his season average of over 7 yards a carry.
With Week 11 in the rearview mirror, the Pac-10 has seen it's fair share of surprises. I think Mike Riley might be as surprised as any that his Beavers lost to Washington State, at home!
We've got a rivalry game in the upcoming week, "The Big Game" between Stanford and Cal at Memorial Stadium. Will this be the week that Stanford finally loses it's edge and drops out of BCS talks? I certainly hope not, although as we've seen time and time again, Cal is a whole different animal at home.
Well guys, that's all I've got for you this time. Here's to week 12 being just as entertaining as the previous 11 weeks!